ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The Albuquerque police officer seen on video apparently beating a surrendering suspect and firing a stun gun at another who already had been zapped has been told to turn in his badge and gun.
Officer Connor Rice was fired on May 10, police spokesperson Officer Tasia Martinez confirmed Friday.
Rice was at the center of an internal investigation that sparked criminal charges of battery and aggravated battery.
The Albuquerque Police Department released the lapel-camera video in August. The video shows the takedown of four suspects connected to an alleged drug deal in May 2012.
Three officers, Rice, Shad Solis and Ronald Surran were placed under investigation because of what happened.
The investigation revealed Rice used his Taser several times to zap a man who had already been hit with an electric dart. It also revealed that about an hour later the video shows Rice hitting another suspect three times after the suspect appears to be voluntarily lying down.
This is what can be heard on the video:
Suspect: I surrender.
Officer: You surrender?
Suspect: Owe, owe.
Officer: Stop resisting.
The video also shows Rice high-fives his fellow lawmen. APD's internal investigation into Rice began last summer. That is when Police Chief Ray Schultz spoke to News 13.
"Obviously very disappointed in the actions of the officers," APD Chief Ray Schultz said in August. "We do not train to this level. Officers are held to a higher standard."
On Friday neither Schultz nor anyone from the department would comment beyond confirming Rice was fired.
Last word from the state was the Law Enforcement Academy Board is still investigating whether Rice will lose his certification to ever wear a badge again.
Chaves County Sheriff James Coon, who sits on the LEA board, told KRQE News 13 that APD's move to fire Rice is something that will likely be considered.
The District Attorney's Office said the firing won't play a role in the criminal case against Rice.
With video evidence of the alleged crime they may not need much more.
"It is unusual to have video tape of the incident of alleged criminal activity," Chief Deputy District Attorney Mark Drebing said.
Drebing said prosecutors should know in a few weeks if Rice's case will go to trial. At this point a plea deal is still possible.
KRQE had to file a lawsuit to force release of the lapel cam video. Because that litigation is still pending, APD said it could not comment on the case.
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